ROAD TO HANA - Maui’s number 1 tourism activity is something called “The Road To Hana” which is simply a 64 mile stretch of highway from Kahului to Hana on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The catch is, the speed limit varies from 5-15mph, it’s often 1 lane, and it winds through a tropical rainforest filled with dramatic, idealistic waterfalls. This nearly 100 year old road was built at a time way before tourism and widespread interest here. It’s easily one of the most dramatic, interesting and explorative drives in the nation. No wonder it has such a reputation.
The drive itself is a full day adventure. Considering the scenery and this climate, I opted to rent a Slingshot for the day. This was an extremely good call! The company Aloha Motorsports had a fleet of all new top of the line 2022 Slingshot R models. Of course Jessica picked one that was turquoise.
The north end of West Maui is where we began, which is not anywhere close to “The Road to Hana” but the driving conditions and road width were similar, as I would discover later. Many parts of this road were so narrow, the Slingshot took up the entire width. So you may think “what happens if another car is coming the other way?”. Great question! You figure it out. That’s it. One of you has to reverse and try not to fall into the ocean. I wish I wasn’t making that up.
Once you get into the rainforest there is basically a waterfall around every corner. Some of them are famous and marked plainly on Google, some of them are on private property, and even others are just out to be found and not even marked on a map. As bustling with tourism as this place is, many parts of this drive were totally devoid of anyone at all. That was nice.
I ended up getting brave and jumping into one of the waterfall lagoons. It was super cold, low visibility. The rocks were slimy, sharp…this was pretty dangerous as I was realizing. I didn’t get hurt, but as I was doing it I could see how this wouldn’t be an adventure for many.
The waterfalls fascinated me of course, so I sent in my drone to get a better look. I’m so glad I did! What the drone revealed is that beyond what you can see from the ground are dozens MORE waterfalls that feed the one you can see. Imagine a endless chain of waterfalls feeding one another from on top of a mountain into the clouds. Some of the drone footage I captured shows waterfalls in areas that I couldn’t imagine would be accessible by foot. Just amazing. So much of those areas are raw, untouched and basically identical to how they’ve always been.
This part of Maui receives 300” of rain a year! This is what powers the nonstop waterfalls. Remarkably Maui is so large that other parts of the same island receive very little rainfall at all. The amount of ecosystems here in a single place, I can’t get over how neat it is.
Getting away from the resort areas and “out into nature” was a welcomed departure from the experience so far. I got sunburned, despite layering myself in 50SPF + 70SPF and reapplying every 2 hours, the sun here is relentless. Most of the route does not have cellphone signal either, which can be a pro or a con depending on your own preferences. Jessica refuses to stop being totally available for our clients needs and expectations no matter where we are. She was not thrilled about the lack of reception, but the saving grace there was that Texas is 5 hours ahead of us here, so right around the time we lost reception was “after business hours” anyways.
This is a staggeringly beautiful place!